Sanders wins 149 lb. NCAA Division III National Championship

Sanders wins 149 lb. NCAA Division III National Championship

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Concordia University Wisconsin sophomore Greg Sanders became the first national champion in program history by defeating top-seeded Kodie Silvestri of Wartburg College, 6-4, in the 149 lb. championship match.

Sanders and Silvestri battled until the very end in the title bout and were tied 4-4 until the CUW sophomore scored two points on a reversal late in the final period to gain the 6-4 advantage and ultimately earn him the national title.

Sanders, who was the sixth seed entering the tournament, continued his theme of strong finishes at the national championships, as three of his four matches were tied entering the final period.

The opening period of the match saw Sanders and Silvestri go back-and-forth, with the Falcons national champion holding a 4-3 lead after three minutes. Silvestri earned the first two points with a takedown but Sanders quickly responded with a reversal. After another point from Wartburg, Sanders got a late first period takedown to take a 4-3 lead in the title bout.

An escape point by Silvestri in the second period brought the score to 4-4 and would hold that way until the late reversal by Sanders.

Sanders opponent Saturday night was the defending national champion at the 141 lb. weight class and brought a 23-1 record at 149 lbs. into this year's NCAA championships.

The sophomore's efforts at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships earned him the NWCA Most Outstanding Wrestler award.

Sanders performance throughout the competition scored CUW 23 points, which was good for 11th place in the final team standings. Wartburg won the team title with 103 points.

The 2013 149 lb. national champion concluded his year with a 40-4 record, a outstanding wrestler award, All-American recognition, and a spot at the top of the podium Saturday night at the 2013 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.